Bad case of ‘budget blues’

Curtin University Student Guild president Sam Cavallaro says the Federal Budget is bad news for students. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d420147
Curtin University Student Guild president Sam Cavallaro says the Federal Budget is bad news for students. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d420147

STUDENTS

On Wednesday, university students marched against budget cuts in the Perth CBD.

Curtin University Student Guild president Sam Cavallaro, of Victoria Park, said they would not lie down while the government flushed away their futures.

Under changes, students will have to pay more for their degrees, face a higher interest rate on student debt and must pay back loans sooner.

‘We need to protest to ensure that education remains a right and does not become a privilege,’ Mr Cavallaro said.

‘The National Union of Students is already organising for another protest and there are always opportunities to show our dissatisfaction with the current government as Liberal MPs travel the country trying to sell this budget.’

From 2016, universities will be able to set their own tuition fees, which Mr Cavallaro said would shift the Australian education system more towards the American model.

The Federal Government is also increasing student loan interest rates by up to 6 per cent, instead of at the rate of inflation. From July 2016, students will have to repay loans when they earn more than $50,638 a year. Mr Cavallaro said the changes would extend the gap between rich and poor.

SENIORS

Leading Age Services Australia WA (LASA WA) is based in South Perth and chief executive Beth Cameron said the Federal Budget ‘exacerbates’ the strain the sector was already under with reforms due to be rolled out in July.

‘It presents a significant net loss on an industry that is already struggling with costs and legislation compliance, to provide quality care to our elderly,’ she said.

‘We are waiting on clear communication from State and Federal governments to understand the ramifications of budget announcements.’

She said the key losses that would hurt pensioners and elderly people are the removal of the aged care payroll tax supplement, the cut to the home support program, the removal of the zero real interest loans scheme and the $7 Medicare co-payment. However, they could benefit from $1.5 billion in workforce supplement to be returned to the aged-care industry and funding to medical research.

Ms Cameron said the combined effect of budget decisions, appeared to increase care subsidies with one announcement, and cut them with another.

‘The budget is devastating news for the aged-care sector and I suspect we are victims of collateral damage at the hands of a Federal Government that is playing hard ball with state governments,’ she said.

‘LASA WA will lobby government and support our members and the elderly in preparation for changes ahead.’